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University of Colorado Hospital

Department of Surgery Members Honored With UCHealth Medical Staff Awards

The award ceremony recognized five surgery faculty members for their service, innovation, patient care, and more. 

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Written by Greg Glasgow on February 9, 2024

Five faculty members in the University of Colorado Department of Surgery were honored in January as part of the University of Colorado Hospital Medical Staff Awards. The awards are given annually by UCHealth, one of the surgery department’s partner hospitals.

Saluted for service

Robert McIntyre, MDRobert McIntyre, MD, professor and chief of the Division of GI, Trauma, and Endocrine Surgery, received the Presidential Award for Meritorious Service. McIntyre serves as director of endocrine surgery, vice chair of finance, and associate chief medical officer for perioperative services.

McIntyre was recognized in part for his leadership in the UCHealth multidisciplinary trauma program that led to the hospital’s status as a Level 1 Trauma Center. He also was credited for helping to transform the medical staff peer review process.

“He is a deeply thoughtful individual who seeks input from multiple angles when key decisions need to be made,” one nominator wrote of McIntyre. “His intellect is incisive, and he is exceptionally adept in considering the perspective of other parties.”

McIntyre voices his appreciation for the collaborative environment within the Department of Surgery.

“Everything I do here is a team sport,” McIntyre says.

Recognized for innovation

PomfretThe Clinical Innovation Award went to Elizabeth Pomfret, MD, PhD, professor of transplant surgery and chief of transplant surgery at UCHealth.

Pomfret was recognized for her passionate advocacy for justice and equity, which includes developing and leading UCHealth’s Hispanic Transplant Program. Members of the nominating committee also recognized her leadership in making the UCHealth transplant program the first in the Rocky Mountain region to provide robotic living organ donation. 

“She is a role model, not only for me and other women in medicine, but for physicians in general,” wrote one nominator. “I have great admiration for her integrity, fierce sense of justice, and determination to provide the best possible care for her patients.”

Exemplary clinical work

FEACHReeceBrett Reece, MD, professor of cardiothoracic surgery and director of the Thoracic Aortic Program, was honored with the Medical Staff Clinician of the Year Award. 

“I appreciate the acknowledgement of what the thoracic aortic program has grown into over the past 15 years,” Reece says. “Receiving this award is not so much about me, but more the team we have in my clinical focus. The thoracic aortic program has grown into a nationally respected pillar of care for patients with complex aortic diagnoses.”

Reece also acknowledges the contributions of his team, which includes advanced practice providers (APPs) Elizabeth Devine, PA-C, MS, and Stephanie Ortiz, NP, as well as representatives from vascular surgery, radiology, and cardiology. 

“We have grown into a true program ready to deal with any problem these patients can throw at us,” he says. “This has allowed us to develop and regional collaboration to further our research endeavors, particularly for less-common clinical scenarios.” 

Standout service

Jessica RoveRecipient of UCHealth’s Extraordinary Service Award was Jessica Rove, MD, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery. The award recognizes individuals who exhibit an exceptional dedication to patient care and make a substantial impact on lives during crucial moments.

Rove was recognized in part for her role in the treatment of a 40-year-old mother of three young children who suffered a catastrophic coronary artery dissection leading to profound cardiac failure. After being transferred to UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, the patient was seen by Rove, who guided her through a cardiac transplant.

“Dr. Rove’s intricate understanding of such a complex case and her ability to act swiftly under pressure were nothing short of heroic,” wrote one of Rove’s nominators for the award. “The seamless coordination of care across three hospitals within the UCHealth system was paramount to saving the patient’s life. Dr. Rove played a pivotal role in this life-saving mission, showcasing her exceptional surgical skills and leadership.”

Rove says she is proud to work with “amazing colleagues” in the operating room, intensive care unit, anesthesia, nursing, cardiothoracic, and cardiovascular teams. 

“My favorite part of my job is working alongside great people to help our patients,” Rove says.

Best bedside manner

Yanik Bababekov, MD, MPHYanik Bababekov, MD, MPH, assistant professor of transplant surgery, received UCHealth’s Bedside Manner Award for his treatment of patients as well as medical staff. 

“My bedside interactions are an extension of great patient care from an enormous collaborative effort,” Bababekov says. “I’m lucky to be a part of a great team and thankful to serve as a representative for the transplant group.”

Bababekov is quick to point out the contributions of other members of his team, including APPs, social workers, pharmacists, dieticians, nurses, coordinators, administrators, medical and surgical specialists, and trainees including medical students and fellows.

“Transplant is unique, as it is the ultimate team sport,” he says. “We have daily multidisciplinary rounds on the inpatient side. The teamwork continues to the OR and the outpatient clinic.”